Stage 2 Part A Summer 2001
The 4 suspension lift and the 1 body lift from stage one was not quite enough lift since my tires banged my fenders hard at full stuff. I had few options to deal with this but most resulted in limiting upward travel. I decided to swap out my 1 body lift for a 2 body lift, this would give me the room I need and would be very cheap to do. I also decided to install a 1 motor mount lift to help with drive train angles and also so that I did not have to mess with the fan shroud again.
My next goal for stage 2 was to swap out my rear axle. I wanted a high clearance Dana 60 and was one phone call away from ordering one. At the last minute I decided against it. In order to fit the Dana 60 and not have vibes I would need a SYE and adjustable control arms. I started shopping around for adjustable control arms and decided I would not be happy with anything less then a long arm system.
At that point stage 2 took a completely different direction and went from an axle build up plan to a long arm suspension plan. I started to research long arm kits and only 2 bolt-on kits were available at the time, Teraflex and Rubicon Express. I chose the long arm upgrade from RE for a bunch of reasons; the kit included upper and lower adjustable control arms, they were munch larger and stronger then the Teraflex arms and it came with a high clearance cross member. Install of the cross member required cutting 10 1 holes into the frame; I had this part of the install done at a local shop. The rest of the install I did myself and was very basic, except for cutting off the lower control arm brackets. The new cross member also got rid of my transfer case drop so I had to intall a SYE and new CV drive shaft.
For the SYE I decided to go with the heavy duty Advanced Adaptors kit. It came with a larger, strong out put shaft and I got it for a good price through a group buy with Tom Woods. I also got one of his custom rear drive shafts cut to my specified length of 16. Installation was a little frustrating for me since it was my first time in a transfer case and I could not get good lighting under my jeep. I was told the install is easier if you leave the transfer case in the jeep, so I went that route.
The CV drive shaft required pointing the axle pinion at the transfer case. With adjustable control arms this was easily accomplished but I ran into one problem. The rear trac bar contacted the gas skid and would not fit. I contacted Rubicon Express and had them overnight an angled trac bar bracket for the axle end and their rear adjustable rear trac bar. The bracket and the adjustable trac bar worked perfectly and the jeep drives without any vibration.
I was eager to tryout the new set-up and took the jeep to Cisco, a labyrinth of trails in Raleigh, NC. The long arm kit drives just like stock with no wandering, it also takes bumps a lot better and I felt more in control of the jeep. Offroad the jeep climbed up obstacles with ease. The tire would push up and over objects rather then down and away. I also crushed my stock front trac bar on that trip sliding hard sideways into a rut.
I replaced the bent front trac bar with the extreme duty unit from RE. It came with a drop down bracket that made the cartridge joint parallel to the ground, no that there is no binding during extreme articulation. They also recommended a drop pitman arm, which I bought but did not use. Installing the drop bracket requires drilling 2 holes into the frame and making the stock mount bigger. I chose to leave the stock mount alone and just use a smaller bolt, if it proves to be a problem I will change it out but I doubt it ever will. After the install, I had absolutely no bump-steer for the first time since the initial skyjacker lift.
Stage 2 Part A Cost
Stage 1 Total Cost 2470